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I just started riding again after several years off. I am 6'6" tall. The bike I have has a real long head stem. Will a shorter one help me with some more technical riding?
 

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Do you feel cramped now? Does it feel like you need to stretch out?
 

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I just started riding again after several years off. I am 6'6" tall. The bike I have has a real long head stem. Will a shorter one help me with some more technical riding?
As a general rule a shorter stem makes the handling more 'twitchy' or faster steering, so from that respect it would probably help you navigate technical trail sections better.

UPDATE: It probably goes without saying, but a shorter stem could impact the fit of your bike since your moving the bars closer to you so keep that in mind.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the info, all things to consider. Debating spending any money on this bike or saving for a 29er.
 

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That's quite long, if that proves to be the length after you remeasure. A stem that long is generally a crutch for getting a too small frame to work.

The 110 mm range is ideal for most types of riding. If it's much longer or shorter then the frame simply isn't the right size.
 

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stem length should relate to riding comfort and hand position. In the long run the right length for your body size is what is important. You won't gain much if anything in how responsive your bike is by changing your stem length. Even a 50mm tiny stem would probably not be too "twitchy" and that twitchiness has almost nothing to do with handling ability. A bike that fits properly is the most important thing, period and that's how you should set your stem length. If you are feeling too stretched out...leaning too far forward...have too much pressure on your hands...those are indications that you might need a shorter stem but the desire for better/different handling shouldn't come into play in and of itself.
 

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stem length should relate to riding comfort and hand position. In the long run the right length for your body size is what is important. You won't gain much if anything in how responsive your bike is by changing your stem length. Even a 50mm tiny stem would probably not be too "twitchy" and that twitchiness has almost nothing to do with handling ability. A bike that fits properly is the most important thing, period and that's how you should set your stem length. If you are feeling too stretched out...leaning too far forward...have too much pressure on your hands...those are indications that you might need a shorter stem but the desire for better/different handling shouldn't come into play in and of itself.
That's all well and good for road biking where you spend the majority of your time in one or two positions, but it's a whole different ball game for mountain biking.
 
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